How does perfectionism cause problems?

Although it is not entirely clear how or why perfectionism is so problematic, there are several explanations that exist. For example, it may be that the requirement of perfection actually creates the presence of stressors or failures and increases the negative impact of stressful events in a person’s life. The increase in stressful events and the increased negativity of those events can result in many different kinds of difficulties. As another example, perfectionistic behavior may develop as a result of a person feeling as if he or she does not really belong or fit in with others or the world more generally.

Perfectionistic behavior can be understood as a way for the person to try to belong or feel good about him or herself but may actually have opposite effect of pushing people away or not being open to warm, intimate relationships with others. The continued lack of belonging can result in a variety of personal and interpersonal difficulties for the person.